Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Heavenly Homes

Merry meet one and all!

I don't believe in coincidences.  If something appears in my life more than once, I take it as a hint.  Recently, there has been lots of quite domestic events that have prompted me to think "what if?" That's not to say I regret any of the actions and decisions that have brought me to this point, but instead it allows me to dream of the future.  And I do dream, not just for me but for society.

In an ideal world I would live in a community. By that I don't mean having neighbours that I chat with, or a pub that I'm a regular in, but a cohesive network of people and organisations that are working together for the benefit of all, including Mother Earth.

I would love a home with a garden big enough that we could grow some of our own produce; as a kid my dad had an allotment and I've never forgotten the gorgeous flavour of fruit and vegetables that were still growing less than an hour ago.  I've always wanted to keep chickens too; I had a pet duck as a child and again, there's no better flavour than an egg that was still warm when you cracked it into the pan.

In my dream, anything we couldn't grow ourselves we would be able to buy locally from local suppliers.  We would get our bread and cakes from a bakers (Greggs doesn't count!), our meat would come from a local butcher, and a greengrocer would be on hand for the things we hadn't grown.  If we wanted to use a supermarket, it wouldn't be a massive out of town experience but instead a smaller enterprise that worked alongside the other shops on the high street and which also supplied items from local suppliers.

This is not some idle dream, but one based on my own actual experiences.  I lived in a village in Suffolk that still had a classic make-up.  There were very few anonymous corporate chains; instead there was a farm shop selling local organic produce, two local independent butchers, a bakers (and a Greggs), and the supermarket was a Co-Op that stocked local meat, local fruit and veg, local cakes and local bottled beers and ciders, all alongside a surprisingly wide range of big name groceries as you would expect. The great thing was, many of the locals used their high street on a regular basis.  The pubs were all proper village pubs, and when Tesco tried to build on empty land, a determined and vocal protest group quickly formed and have, to date, succeeded in stopping the building plans by stating that it would destroy the local community.

There is a campaign started by a Welsh farmer on Twitter to get supermarkets to have a "local" aisle. Surely this is important for all local economies, and I would argue that if the big supermarkets are going to destroy high streets, they have a duty to try to give something back.  Fair prices for the farmers would be a moral step forward too.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, because this isn't just a pagan issue, or a farmers issue, but one that affects all of us because we all have to eat and our choices have an impact every time we prepare a meal.  Remember in the late 1980s when the public demanded aerosols that didn't use CFCs, or tuna that wasn't caught in ways that endangered dolphins?  We can achieve so much if we just bother!

Blessed be )0(